Dr Amanda W. Kijas focuses on the creation of bioactive polyisocyanopeptide hydrogel for wound management.

Polyisocyanopeptide (PIC) hydrogel functionalised with tri-ethylene glycol is an ideal scaffold for wound healing approaches as it is a liquid that gelates at body temperature enabling easy application to complex wound sites and its mechanical responsiveness mimics that of biopolymers.

Dr Kijas's work involves conjugating bioactive molecules that promote wound healing to PIC hydrogel scaffold for therapeutic application, employing Sortase A based site specific bio-conjugation methodologies. We are employing various bioactive molecules on this project to address haemostasis (stemming of blood flow) and subsequent healing. Initially procoagulant (blood clotting) and antifibrinolytic proteins from snake venom will be employed to overcome coagulopathy (uncontrolled bleeding) a major cause of trauma-related deaths.

Dr Kijas did her honours degree in Biotechnology at Flinders University (South Australia) before moving to Sweden where she earned her PhD at Uppsala University (Department of Neuroscience) on the molecular evolution of G protein coupled receptors in Prof. Dan Larhammar’s Laboratory. She undertook a postdoc at Cornell University (Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics) working on biochemical characterisation of mismatch repair proteins with Prof. Eric Alani. She then took a position as research officer in Prof. Martin Lavin’s laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, working on DNA repair and associated neurodegenerative disorders. This work continued at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research focusing on Ataxia telangiectasia stem cell based models and genome editing. Before taking up a research position in the Rowan Group working on the biomedical application of polyisocyanopeptide hydrogel.

Collaborations

Current collaborations involve researchers from both

  • Translational Research Institute: Dr Paul Masci, Dr Lambro Johnson, Dr Kong-Nan Zhao and Professor John de Jersey
  • University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research: Professor Martin Lavin

Key Publications

​Kijas AW, Lavin MF. (2017) Assaying for Radioresistant DNA Synthesis, the Hallmark Feature of the Intra-S-Phase Checkpoint Using a DNA Fiber Technique. Methods Mol Biol. 1599:13-23.

Kijas AW, Lim YC, Bolderson E, Cerosaletti K, Gatei M, Jakob B, Tobias F, Taucher-Scholz G, Gueven N, Oakley G, Concannon P, Wolvetang E, Khanna KK, Wiesmüller L and Lavin MF. (2015). ATM-dependent phosphorylation of MRE11 controls extent of resection during homology directed repair by signalling through Exonuclease 1. Nucleic Acids Res 43(17):8352-67.

Kozlov SV, Graham ME, Jakob B, Tobias F, Kijas AW, Tanuji M, Chen P, Robinson PJ, Taucher-Scholz G, Suzuki K, So S, Chen D, Lavin MF. (2011). Autophosphorylation and ATM activation: additional sites add to the complexity. J Biol Chem. 286(11): 9107-19.  

Kijas AW, Harris JL, Harris JM, Lavin MF. (2006). Aprataxin forms a discrete branch in the HIT (histidine triad) superfamily of proteins with both DNA/RNA binding and nucleotide hydrolase activities. J Biol Chem. 281(20):13939-48.

Kijas A.W., Studamire B., Alani E. (2003). Msh2 separation of function mutations confer defects in the initiation steps of mismatch repair. J Mol Biol. 331(1): 123-138.

Full list of publications available on espace

Funding

​BRASHAT Project funding for Ataxia-telangiectasia Research (2016).